'He has to' - Michael Stewart urges Lennon to bench Celtic stalwart against Kilmarnock

Michael Stewart has urged Celtic manager Neil Lennon to bench Scott Brown in favour of Ismaila Soro at the weekend.

Scott Brown. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old put in an impressive display in the heart of midfield against Lyon on Thursday evening, with his veteran teammate watching on from the sidelines.

Brown, as usual, has been a mainstay in the engine room for the Hoops this season, but finding a suitable covering option for a player who will be 36 next summer is becoming an increasingly pressing priority for Lennon’s men.

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In contrast, Soro has been used sparingly by the Northern Irishman this term, and has just two league appearances to his name, but Stewart was massively enthused by his showing at Parkhead last night – even going as far as to suggest that he should be allowed to keep his place in the side against Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Speaking about the Ivorian on BBC Sportsound, he said: “He brought real dynamism to the middle of the park – legs, energy, desire.”

When asked if Soro’s performance meant that Brown would have to make do with a spot on the bench against Alex Dyer’s side, the pundit said: “I think he’s got to, he really has.

"We can go round the houses as much as we want, Scott Brown is 35 years old now – he cannot play every single game.

"I know folks will say he’s not played every game, but the point is that it needs to be tailored as to what Scott’s going to play to have the impact that we know he can, rather than diluting or spreading him too thin, and then he doesn't have the influence that you look for.

"Soro has come in and shown you that he’s capable of having that impact that you need, and for me, to build a bit of momentum, he’s got to stay in that side on Sunday.”

Brown has started all three of Celtic’s most recent Scottish Premiership outings, but was substituted part way through the second half in draws against both Hibernian and St Johnstone.

The last time the midfielder failed to make any kind of appearance in a league game was back in February, when the Hoops beat Killie 3-1.

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